- Accidental Innuendo:
Gene: Speaking of "bazzums"... Fannie, would you show us yours?
Gene: Milk is the answer that Myron's looking for. Let's see if we can get a little milk from Patti here.
Patti: I beg your pardon?
Gene: Betty, show us your "G-string"!
- Adaptation Displacement:
- Several fans of the 1970s version are unaware of the NBC version, which was a far more staid affair (as was the first season or so of the 1970s version).
- Around the time the 1970s version premiered, the "HOW Y WAS X?!" routine (see Memetic Mutation, below) was already fairly well known from The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (and is still in use today, in some form or another). You have Bert Convy to thank for its association with Match Game; he started doing it sometime in 1973 as a Shout-Out, and he and other celebrities kept using it so much the audience soon joined in.
- Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Almost every Super Match/Head-to-Head Match that had Richard Dawson present. Contestants would always pick him for the Head-to-Head because he rarely mismatched. In mid-1978, the show added a "Star Wheel", which would randomize which of the six celebs the contestant would play with in the Head-to-Head Match. The Star Wheel did much to hasten Dawson's departure, and he became much more sullen over the seven weeks after the Wheel's debut.
- Although, rather hilariously, he was the first one the Star Wheel picked.
- ABC 2016 version: Rosie O'Donnell for the Head-to-Head. Although this is likely due to her celebrity factor.
- Ear Worm:
- Follow the Leader: Jack Barry-Dan Enright productions copied the format pretty blatantly with Hollywood Connection (1977-78), which was pretty much Match Game but with questions about the celebrities instead of fill-in-the-blank. Yahtzee (1988) was basically Match Game WITH DICE!
- "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
- Gene and Jon "Bowzer" Bauman's banter following The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour.
- The "Old Man Periwinkle" questions became this after an age reveal derailed Gene Rayburn's career.
- Growing the Beard: At some point circa 1965-66, having been cancelled with six weeks left to make, the show turned into a comedy game with silly questions like "Mary liked to pour gravy on John's _____"...and quickly got renewed by NBC. The show returned to the "sterile" stuff in 1973, but changed within six months to include the likes of Dumb Dora, Old Man Periwinkle, and anything that would lead to an answer of "boobs".
- Harsher in Hindsight: During the first week of the 1970s version, Jack Klugman would frequently reference his then-wife Brett Somers who would emigrate to the show as a regular panelist. This would be harder to stomach after Klugman and Somers separated in 1974.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Both 1990s hosts, Ross Shafer and Michael Burger, would eventually end up working together on the informative Web Original series, Relevant Report.
- Memetic Badass: Charles Nelson Reilly, thanks to "Weird Al" Yankovic. "Giddyup, Gene!"
- Memetic Mutation: "X was so Y..." "How Y was X?!" A lot of younger people don't even know the source of this meme.
- Moment of Awesome: In one of the final episodes unaired by CBS, Carolyn Haisner became the show's all-time winner and only undefeated champion with $32,600—which led to a Funny Moment in the next game, when a question had to be thrown out because Gene forgot whose turn it was!
- Replacement Scrappy: When Richard Dawson left the panel, he was eventually replaced 11 weeks into the final season (1981-82) by McLean Stevenson, who... was no Dawson.
- Averted for Ross Shafer, Michael Burger, and (for most people, anyway) Alec Baldwin — the first two were very competent hosts with prior game show experience (Shafer with Love Me, Love Me Not on the USA Network, Burger with the 1985 Reg Grundy pilot Matchmates and the second season of The Family Channel's Family Challenge) who got hit with versions that either got stuck in bad timeslots, or just sucked execution-wise. Alec Baldwin has been seen by most as a competent host — after all, if his career could survive The Cat in the Hat, he could host the most faithful revival since Game$how Marathon (incidentally, Ricki Lake is seen as one of these),
- Retroactive Recognition:
- Seasonal Rot: Many fans think that the show started going downhill after Richard Dawson left in the latter half of the 70's, in part because none of his successors had the chemistry. Also, the question writing and general silliness were a bit more toned down in later seasons.
- Suspiciously Similar Song: The 1998-99 revival's theme started out almost identically to the 1973-82 one, complete with the scratchy guitar work, but then went off in its own direction. Almost a spoof, really.
- That One Level: "Match-Up" in the ABC version (but not Convy's pilots), a ham-fisted attempt to add an actual sort of "game".
- They Changed It, Now It Sucks:
- The 1979-82 daily syndicated run had two contestants play two games, after which they would both retire, instead of returning champions. At least one player won both games and struck out in both Super Matches, going home with parting gifts.
- The ABC version had each episode be self-contained, but unlike Match Game PM, it had returning champions. The scores were cash-based, however, and the game hinged on the second Match-Up rather than the second pair of A-B questions.
- In their defense, though, the cash-based system and the addition of Match-Up did allow contestants to go home with some cash if they either didn't make it to Super-Match or did and fizzled; that was the problem of the above-described 1979-82 run.
- The 1998-99 version, especially with the later set — the questions went from Getting Crap Past the Radar to offensive and tasteless under a Hotter and Sexier guise, the panel was reduced from six celebrities to five, the returning-champion aspect was eradicated, the payouts were cheap (reduced from $10,000 during the ABC run back to $5,000), there was no chemistry whatsoever, and some of the guests were very bored.
- What an Idiot: Has its own subpage.
- WTH, Casting Agency?: Kukla and Ollie from Kukla, Fran and Ollie appeared on MG '79 and PM that same year (all before the "Cuckoo ____" fiasco), both staying in character.